Tips to Send Your Gaming Rig Halfway ‘Round the World

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Well, It’s been a month since we moved back to Texas from Hawaii, and things seem to be settling in quite nicely. It was a long moving process that provided plenty of learning experiences, chief among them being the harrowing experience of shipping our gaming rig nearly 4000 miles. It wasn’t the easiest task, but after a month since it was set up everything seems to have survived the trip. With the stress of it all behind me, I figured it would be a great opportunity to share a few tips I learned while packing and shipping our beloved gaming pc.

Keep and store your monitor box

This only applies if you’re looking to keep your monitor in the first place. I sold mine during our move because I trashed the box when I first built my rig. I ended up selling it on Craigslist as a result. Not a huge inconvenience, but it would have been nice to just pack up the monitor and move along. So take note, keep your monitor boxes and packaging, nothing will hug your monitor tighter or keep it more safe on its journey.

Clean it out and screw it down

This is a good housekeeping tip more than anything. If you’re going to pack up your rig for shipment, you certainly want to take care and ensure everything is screwed/clipped down and mounted properly. Likewise, if you’re going to open your tower up you might as well take some time to clean it out. I removed and wiped down all of my fans and took a can of dust-off to everything else. Probably a bit of overkill, but I was so unsure of whether my tower was going to survive the trip I wanted to make sure it had a proper sendoff.

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Nintendo’s unveiling the NX tomorrow and it’s time for some predictions.

 

     No need to pinch yourself, that tweet is real. This week we’ll get our first real look at the long-awaited Nintendo NX. Even the announcement of a preview trailer has managed to set the internet on fire. It’d be wrong not to get in on the speculation game, so here’s a handful of our totally baseless and unqualified predictions.

     Expect classic Nintendo-brand function over form, and it’ll pay off this time. That’s not to say I don’t think the new console will be powerful when it comes to hardware. The question is how that hardware will be put to use. If the persisting rumors about the NX being fusion between a home and handheld console are true, I expect the NX to build on the Wii U’s tablet design by consisting of a handheld mobile console capable of docking with a home hub-console.

     That isn’t an original bit of guesswork by any means, but it’s my prediction all the same. The trick to this prediction is the cost. Nintendo has always tried their best to be the cost-efficient option in the console market, and hybrid hardware sounds pricey. That said, New 3DSs can regularly be found for around $150, and I don’t think the mobile half of the NX would require much more power than a New 3DS. If they topped out at a similar level Nintendo could reasonably keep the NX within the $300-$400 price range, have a pre-installed userbase, AND leave the door open for potential Wii U backwards compatibility.

     And here’s where today’s NX daydreaming went slightly off the rails. What if the mobile console were capable of streaming games while away from home? The cost of hardware to do so might kill this idea, but it seems an appropriate feature of a console so heavily rumored to blend the features of home and handheld. Imagine having the ability to play a console game at home, then travel and still have the ability to finish your game while streaming over wi-fi. That would be a game changer in the home console market and truly set Nintendo apart from MS and Sony. I’ll fully admit this is more of a wish of mine than a true prediction, but hey it could happen right?

     Lastly, I expect at least one if not two major non-Zelda franchises at launch. I actually believe this explains the long lead-time for the NX’s announcement/release. After heavy criticism of the Wii U’s game library, it wouldn’t shock me if Nintendo decided to put some extra care into cooking up a few big names to launch their new console. We already know about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the NX, but a few other games have either been confirmed in development (Pikmin 4) or heavily rumored (new Super Smash Bros). Launch with those and a few 3rd party offerings (oh yeah, let’s just predict 3rd party developers will be on board this gen too), and you have the makings of one of the best console launches of all time.

     So there it is. A handful of half-baked thoughts more akin to wishful thinking than real predictions, but it’s still something worth chewing on while we wait for Nintendo to truly unveil their latest creation. Happy hoping Nintendo fans, and check out the blog and our Twitter feed over the weekend to see our reaction to the week’s news.

 

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Which of Hawaii’s local species could we see in Pokemon Sun & Moon?

E3’s batch of Sun and Moon info brought with it the debut of 3 new pokemon. If early releases are any indication it looks like we can expect Sun and Moon to take strong inspiration from Hawaii’s local fauna. Pikipek shares a strong resemblance to the red-crested cardinal, and Yungoos is the pokemon equivalent of one of Hawaii’s most prominent invasive species. With that in mind I made a quick list of some other species we can expect to find around the Alola region.

llio holo I ka uaua (Monk Seal)
The obvious choice for a Popplio evolution. Literally translated to “dog that runs in rough water,” monk seals are some of the largest animals you’ll find around Hawaii, and they’re adorable to boot. Worst case scenario? Game Freak takes the name a little too literally and we get a water/fighting design, but would a warrior-monk seal slapping the hell out its opponents really be the worst thing ever?

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Triggerfish)
The state (and my personal favorite) fish of Hawaii. They are smart, sassy fish that love to tease
divers and spear fisherman by swimming right in front of your face. It’s like they know they’re a protected species. Plus, they make snorting noises! I’d love to see that personality brought to life in a pokemon, and the name triggerfish is just begging for it.

Koholā (Humpback Whale)
Humpbacks are featured in several “legends of creation” in Hawaiian lore, and for good reason. The behemoths frequent the islands during the winter months of their annual migration and put on quite a spectacle. We haven’t seen a new whale pokemon debut since Ruby/Sapphire, so I think it’s safe to say we’re overdue, yeah? I’m picturing another massive whale with a hard plate of ice and steal along its top side.

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Civilization 6 was announced, and I HAVE to talk about it.

Picture courtesy of Polygon.com

Picture courtesy of Polygon.com

Wednesday morning brought with it a surprise announcement of Civilization VI, due to be released October 21st, 2016. It was a pleasant surprise announcement that brings with it endless speculation. The Civilization series carries one of the biggest names in gaming, and Civ 5 set a pretty high standard. If the opening round of news gives us an idea of what to expect, it seems we have quite a few reasons to be excited.

City Planning

Taking a page from indie-RTS hit Endless Legend, Civ 6 will feature much more developed city expansion. Instead of occupying a single tile, cities will now sprawl out over time as each major upgrade adds to the city’s limits. I think this could mean a few things for gameplay. Expect cities to take on much more specific personalities as cities develop around surrounding resources. If expanded to the extent I hope, city building and management could become a game within a game.

Larger cities would also mean larger maps, as opposed to Civ 5’s tightly packed maps. Combat will most definitely be affected as well. No longer can you park a few units outside a city to overwhelm it. In Civ 6 Ranged units will become particularly useful to weaken specific boroughs as armies fight block by block to overtake capitals.

Science

Civilization 6 changes up science gameplay by giving bonuses to nations according to the resources within that nation. Develop cities around mining or industry heavy resources and you’ll start to excel at technologies dependent on those resources. It should be a fun pairing to the new city planning additions, but it would be a shame if it pigeonholes nations into more narrow playstyles.

 

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The Search for an Overwatch Main

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This weekend’s Overwatch beta was my first real exposure to Blizzard’s new class-based shooter. I’ve managed to avoid any real details on this game, but a few days with it was enough to place it high on my list of must-own games. The beta looked polished, and the gameplay was clearly designed around enabling a variety of styles. As a completely new player to Overwatch I stuck exclusively to the beta’s Mystery Heroes mode, where death forced players to switch to a random hero, providing the perfect opportunity to explore the game’s classes.

After a weekend of testing it’s clear no two heroes are equal, and if I’m going to be a decent teammate I need to find my go-to heroes. It may have only been a weekend, but I think I’m closing in a my spirit-warriors. Here are some quick thoughts and observations I came away with after the beta.

Defense
Junkrat
Despite being a defensive class, I managed to deal damage and eliminations in spades with Junkrat. Lob a few grenades at a group of enemies, then flee and booby trap the nearest corner. It’s kind of sad how many people fell for it.

Torbjorn
Never was a fan of Engineers in TF2, but Torbjorn feels versatile enough that his play style never feels… turtle-ish. It’s not a sexy class, but any team will need one.

Widowmaker
If you camp as Widowmaker, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Unleashing your inner Spider-Woman is the most effective (and fun) way of playing Widowmaker.

Mei
A pain to play against. A pain to have as a bad teammate. A pain to learn early on. Totally worth if for the trolling potential though. You haven’t lived until you see a well-placed ice wall funnels an enemy team to their doom.

Bastion
This is the only class I can see needing a small nerf, either in rate of fire or damage. He has counters, but the maps have so many corridors at key objective points that he gets a natural bonus when stationary.

Hanzo
His secondary attacks are a lot of fun, but I could never get the hang of the bow. It didn’t help that Hanzo was one of my least played characters during the beta. If I feel like going lonewolf, I’ll probably stick with Widowmaker.

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